Paranoia and grief is not keeping the parents of Neha Shoree parents from relentlessly pursuing justice after their daughter’s murder. Neha, a zonal drug licensing officer, was shot dead in her government office in Punjab’s Kharar on 29 March.
It’s barely been weeks since the news made headlines, but for 70-year-old Kailash Kumar Shoree, a 1971 war veteran, and 64-year-old Arun Shoree, their daughter’s death is just the beginning of a long battle for justice.
In this interview with The Quint they open up on the sudden tragedy that befell them and their concerns with the investigation into Neha’s death.
Finding it difficult to restrain her emotions, Arun, Neha’s mother, says, “Neha has a two-year-old daughter, when she grows, what will we say to her? Why was her mother killed? If we tell her, she was killed for honesty then how will she think that she should be honest when her mother has been sacrificed for that.”
Family Rejects Theory of Personal Enmity
The man who killed Neha is 49-year-old Balwinder Singh. Singh’s licence to run a medical store was cancelled in 2009 when Neha was working on probation in the drug department. While the theory circulating is that it was this cancellation that led to SIngh harboring a grudge against her for about a decade, her family rejects that this led to the murder.
“The incident they are quoting – at that time she had just one and a half year of service. She was not the authority to cancel the licence.”Neha’s Father, Captain K K Shoree
Neha’s mother, Arun, said, “She was not the final cancellation authority. It had to be ratified by her superiors. So this theory of revenge after 10 years is a planted one.”
Lapses Which Led to the Murder Weapon Being Issued
Pointing towards the date when the licence was issued, Captain Shoree said, “Going by how the weapon was issued, the district authorities and police authorities hurriedly gave him (Balwinder Singh) the licence within 8 to 10 days by signing the licence after the code of MCC (Model Code of Conduct) came into effect (on 10 March). So the procedures were not followed. When MCC is in effect, there should be no weapon and ammunition in the area. Here, the weapons are being issued after MCC is in effect.”
This document, provided by Neha’s parents to The Quint, shows how the licence for a 32 Bore revolver was added to the Government of Punjab database on 11 March. This is a day after the Model Code of Conduct was declared for the Lok Sabha polls on 10 March. During elections all arms and ammunition are delivered to the state to ensure there is no coercion and there are free and fair elections.
Another document is the gun purchase document, made a day after the licence was entered in the system. This, again, when the Model Code of Conduct was enforced.
The investigation has been forwarded from the Punjab police SIT to the Punjab Bureau of Investigation. At the core of these efforts are two families who are fighting back their tears while mustering the courage to respect their daughter’s life.
“This is just a murder for everyone else, but what did we get for our honesty and the values we raised our kids with? We are fighting for those who want to work for the betterment of the society. Don't kill those people with as much brutality. Please, this is my only request,” said Neha Shoree’s mother.